Thursday, March 15

Review: Spiral Splatter [Nintendo Switch eShop]

With indie games you find a little bit of everything. New takes on old genres, unexpected remixes of existing elements in new and exciting ways, and then things that fall into the category of something you’ve simply never experienced in video game form before. Though it is a pretty simple concept Spiral Splatter easily falls into the last category, if anything most reminding me of those “Test Your Reflexes” games where you try to move the metal ring down the moving spindle, avoiding hitting the sides. Is it a revolution? Not really. That doesn’t mean it can’t be something refreshing though.

The objective in the game is simply to get from Point A to Point B, in this case Point B being a target. There’s a sort of track between you and victory, and often a number of bends or even switches and other elements that will force you to wind through everything in a specific pattern, often overlapping itself to chalk up the difficulty. What lies between you and success isn’t some monster… it’s actually much worse. This is a game about fighting for precision, and at least for me, that can be a struggle. The space you’re travelling in is pretty narrow and hitting the walls means starting over (though some levels do have a checkpoint). While in principle this seems simple it can be confounding how easy it is to just lapse in concentration a little around the bend and then, BANG, you’re back at the beginning. In particular turns are the devil because while you’d like to keep everything crisp and in an easy straight line you’ll slowly find yourself trying to cut off the corners.

While I could attempt to write more that really does cover the essence of the game, it centers around that one gimmick and does a fairly good job with it. You’ll be on a timer and have the ability to hold down a button to speed yourself up but that should be used sparingly on straight-aways. Better times equate to more stars being awarded and if you want to progress you’ll need to get those stars so try to keep moving on easier levels to get ahead before it gets tougher. It should be noted that while touchscreen support would seem to make complete sense for a game like this it isn’t supported, you’ll have to use your analog sticks. I suppose the touchscreen would have possibly made it too much easier but it was still a bit of a surprise.

While Spiral Splatter is hardly going to take the Switch by storm that isn’t to say it’s a bad game. While I’d consider its appeal likely to be niche everything looks good, the level design is sound, and though it is humble everything works quite well. If you like testing your core skills and can deal with some aggravation it may not be a bad bet. At the low, low cost of admission it might be a good game to kick around to cleanse the palate between other meatier titles.

Score: 7

  • Knows what it is and takes its hook as far as it can
  • Clean looks and well-executed overall
  • A low price always helps

  • While there are variations make no mistake, it is a one-trick pony
  • The lack of touchscreen support is a surprise
  • If you don’t like being tense and frustrated it may not be a good match